The Graze Brunch Buffet Experience
I am not a huge “breakfast at breakfast time” kind of person. I dutifully make myself a healthy smoothie every morning to take to work, but it usually doesn’t get consumed until 10am or later in the morning. Weekends are interesting at our house, I don’t think our fridge has seen actual breakfast food in over a year.
I love breakfast, just not in the morning. I am a huge “all day breakfast” fan as well as a fan of eateries that serve brunch past 1pm.
I honestly wouldn’t think of a brand name hotel in a big city as a brunch destination. I had assumed that they were all owned by huge corporations. I had no idea that hotels could be franchised as well. I am now “in the know”.
The Ramada has been around for a while in Edmonton. It was very conveniently located right next to our booming city centre airport, which is alas, no longer. It is in my neighbourhood, so I have had friends and relatives stay there when they come to visit. I have been there for actual breakfast a few times, lunch a handful of times, and some drinks in the very unique Arbour lounge. The staff has always been attentive and the food was always good. No complaints here.
My friend Tina is the Manager at Chateau Nova, right down the street from the Ramada. She kindly made a reservation for me when she heard that I had not had the opportunity to indulge yet. She made it sound delicious!
The Ramada has been purchased by the same family that owns the Chateau Nova. It has been about a year since the new owners took over. THIS is why I had never heard of the Brunch and “Graze” restaurant. It used to be known as “Botanica”.
I was greeted at the entrance to Graze by the Executive Chef, James Hansen. While we were walking to our table, he was going around to the rest of the tables to ensure everyone was enjoying their meal. It is nice to see a Chef checking on the patrons in his establishment. We were seated by our server, Debra and given the low-down on the brunch locations. Yes, locations! It is in one general area, but it is divided into two rooms and six stations. For a first-timer it was a little confusing, but we managed to figure it all out.
The amount of choices available is almost overwhelming. I am sure that anyone’s tastes can be accommodated.
We sat and looked at the different stations trying to figure out what we wanted to try first. Of course I wanted to try it all, but that was not physically possible.
The first room had “Cold Country”, “Main Land” and the “Sweet Table”.
I am a huge fan of Prime Rib. There are only two of us so it is rare that I would cook a roast just for two. I am always thrilled when I can enjoy a piece or two in an upscale buffet. I was enjoying it so much that I forgot to take a photo!
I had the “Creamy Scrambled Eggs” on the first plate as well. One of the rare things I am fussy about is scrambled eggs. Mine are really good. Chef James, your scrambled eggs almost brought tears to my eyes! Fluffy, creamy, good.
I was born on the west coast. Seafood is in my blood. I think if I were stranded on a tropical island, I could probably live happily off of seafood. The Seafood Saloon has some nice selections.
The cocktail sauce for the shrimp has a delightful hint of ginger in it. The oysters are wonderful and the shrimp is cooked just right; not rubbery. The crab legs are pre-cut for you. Just give in and eat them with your hands! Debra made sure we were well stocked with moist wipes and napkins! My husband really enjoyed his clam chowder.
While the “Action Benni Bar” and the “Pasta Palace” looked great as well, they will have to be for another visit. I did save room for dessert though!
At the top of the photo is the “Peach Berry Cobbler”. It reminds me of something that my Grandmother would make. It is served warm and it is delicious. The other two items are a mini red velvet cupcake and a mini chocolate mousse. Chef tells me that about 70% of the desserts are made in-house and they are striving to make that 100%.
I always like to ask my Chef where the groceries come from. Graze is unique in that the family that owns the hotels is also a Bison Rancher. Meat and produce is purchased from local vendors. The pickles and sauces are made in-house from locally grown produce. That kind of care shows in the taste and quality of the food.
It was very coincidental, but a nice touch nonetheless; they played our song while we were enjoying our meal together. How romantic!
Chef James is helping step up the game at the Ramada with Graze. I am looking forward to going back for another visit!
If you would like to experience the Brunch Buffet at Graze, it is from 11am to 2pm. $32.95 for adults, $16.50 for children 6-12 and children under 6 are free.